My interests lie in the development of sustainable aquaculture technologies that are appropriate to the socio-ecological context of Small Island Developing States in the Western Indian Ocean.
I have over 12 years’ experience in the aquaculture industry in both temperate and tropical environments. In my early career, I developed integrated aquaculture systems in Scotland for the cultivation of Atlantic salmon, sea urchins and seaweed and pioneered the development of sea cucumber and seaweed farming in Madagascar. Since then, I have worked extensively in the field of tropical sea cucumber aquaculture in the Western Indian Ocean and further afield, including including Indonesia, New Caledonia, Madagascar, Tanzania, South Africa, Seychelles, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Mozambique, Mauritius, Rodrigues, Namibia and Thailand and has consulted for a wide range of private sector companies, international organisations, governments and NGO’s including AquaSol, Aqua-Spark, the National Aquaculture Group (NAQUA) in Saudi Arabia, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.
My research interests focus on understanding how sediment microbial communities and deposit feeding invertebrates interact to process organic matter and how these relationships can be harnessed and manipulated to enhance the bioremediation of aquaculture wastes. My PhD research focused on the development of state-of-the-art integrated aquaculture production and bioremediation systems, to culture high value sea cucumbers on effluent streams from land-based intensive aquaculture. I am particularly interested in the study of organismal and system microbiomes and the role they play in nutrient cycling. I will be pioneering novel techniques and technologies to improve the sustainability of aquaculture by promoting the assimilation and retention of nitrogen into biomass as opposed to its permanent removal.
Past and present research projects
A microbiome approach to understanding and mitigating disease outbreaks in tropical seaweed farming. Funded by GlobalSeaweed* (Principal Investigator)
RECyCLE: Regulating Elemental Cycling for Coastal Livelihoods and Environments. Funded by the University of the Highlands and Islands
Blue biotechnology in SIDS: Developing novel anti-fouling paints from marine algae. Funded by the University of the Highlands and Islands
Capacity building in resource assessment and management of the Jamaican sea cucumber fishery and potential for aquaculture development. Funded by the UN FAO
Impacting food security with sea cucumbers in Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture systems. Funded by BBSRC
Baseline technologies for the commercial production of sea cucumber H. scabra in recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS). Funded by THRIP, NRF (S Africa)
A sea cucumber industry for Madagascar. Funded by Norges Vel (Norway)
Regional stock assessment of Octopus cyanea in SW Madagascar. Funded by ReCoMaP (IOC) 9th EDF (EU)
Development of seaweed farming as an alternative livelihood for coastal communities. Funded by ReCoMaP (IOC) 9th EDF (EU)
Marine ornamental and curio trade: benefit or threat? Case study: SW Madagascar. Funded by WASMA, WIOMSA (WIO)
Implementation of holothurian mariculture in SW Madagascar. Funded by ReCoMaP (IOC) 9th EDF (EU)
Aquaculture diversification, Loch Duart Ltd. Funded by CASE, HIE (UK)
Building capacity for sustainable fisheries management in the Wallacea region. Funded by the Darwin Initiative (UK)
Peer reviewed publications
Senff P, Elba B, Kunzmann A, Gillis LG, Robinson G (2021) Carbon supplementation promotes assimilation of aquaculture waste by the sea cucumber Holothuria scabra: Evidence from stable isotope analysis. Aquaculture 737295 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquaculture.2021.737295
Whitworth, P; Edwards, S; Cornell, M; Robinson, G; Morrison, M; Caldwell GS. Microbial community dynamics during long term anaerobic digestion of macroalgae and food waste. PeerJ – in prep.
Robinson, G; Reid, W; Rushton, S; Jones, CLW, Stead SM, Caldwell GS. The gut microbiome plays a pivot role in nitrogen cycling in a deposit feeding sea cucumber. Biofilms and Microbiomes – in prep.
Robinson, G., Caldwell, G.S., Jones, C.L.W. and Stead, S. (2019). The effect of resource quality on the growth of Holothuria scabra during aquaculture waste bioremediation. Aquaculture, 499, 99. 101-108, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquaculture.2018.09.024
Robinson, G., MacTavish, T., Savage, C., Caldwell, G. S., Jones, C. L. W., Probyn, T., Eyre, B. D., and Stead, S. M. (2018). Carbon amendment stimulates benthic nitrogen cycling during the bioremediation of particulate aquaculture waste, Biogeosciences, 15, 1863-1878, https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-15-1863-2018, 2018.
Nel, A., Pletschke, B.I., Jones, C.L.W., Kemp, J., Robinson, G. and Britz, P.J. (2017). The effect of kelp (Ecklonia maxima) inclusion in formulated feed on growth, feed utilisation and the gut microbiota of South African abalone (Haliotis midae). African Journal of Marine Science African Journal of Marine Science, 39:2, 183-192, DOI: 10.2989/1814232X.2017.1338203
Robinson, G., Caldwell, G.S., Wade M. J., Free, A., Jones, C.L.W. and Stead, S. (2016). Profiling bacterial communities associated with sediment-based aquaculture bioremediation systems under contrasting redox regimes. Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 38850. doi:10.1038/srep38850
Robinson, G., Caldwell, G.S., Jones, C.L.W., Slater, M. and Stead, S. (2015). Redox stratification drives enhanced growth in a commercially important deposit-feeding invertebrate: implications for aquaculture bioremediation. Aquaculture Environment Interactions. Vol 8: 1-13. doi: 10.3354/aei00158. Epub 14/12/2015.
Simon, C. San Martin G. and Robinson, G. (2014). Two new species of Syllis (Polychaeta: Syllidae) from South Africa, one of them viviparous, with remarks on larval development and vivipary in syllids. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, volume 94, issue 04, pp. 729-746. doi:10.1017/S0025315413001926
Robinson, G., Slater, M., Jones, C.L.W. and Stead, S. (2013). Role of sand as substrate and dietary component in recirculating aquaculture systems for juvenile sea cucumber Holothuria scabra. Aquaculture 392-395, 23-25. doi:10.1016/j.aquaculture.2013.01.036. Epub 2013 Feb 05.
Eriksson, E., Robinson, G., Slater, M. and Troell, M. (2012). Sea cucumber aquaculture in the Western Indian Ocean - challenges for sustainable livelihood and stock improvement. AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment. 41(2), 109-121.
Robinson, G. and Pascal, B. (2011). Development of sea cucumber farming as an alternative livelihood in south-west Madagascar. In Hair, C.A., Pickering, T.D. & Mills, D.J. (Eds) Asia-Pacific tropical sea cucumber aquaculture: proceedings of an international symposium held in Noumea, New Caledonia, 15-17 February 2011. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), pp. 142-155.
Robinson, G. (2009). Community-based sea cucumber aquaculture in Madagascar. In ‘Mariculture in the WIO region: challenges and prospects’, ed. By Troell, M., Hecht. T., Beveridge, M., Stead, S., Bryceson, I., Kautsky, N. et al. WIOMSA Book Series No. 11, 47-53. Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association: Zanzibar, Tanzania.
Pascal, B. and Robinson, G. (2011). Handbook for sandfish farming. ReCoMaP. 66pp.
Peabody, S. and Robinson, G. (2011). Sea cucumber farming. WIOMSA Book series No. 7.
Rombenso, A.N., de Araújo, A. L., Robinson, G. and Sampaio, L.A. Nearshore Marine Finfish Culture: a small-scale pilot initiative in Southern Brazil. World Aquaculture Society Magazine. March 2016 edition: 14-18.
Robinson, G. & Lovatelli, A. (2015). Global sea cucumber fisheries and aquaculture: FAO’s inputs over the past few years. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Newsletter, 53. March 2015.
Robinson, G. (2013) A Bright Future for Sandfish Aquaculture. World Aquaculture Society Magazine. March 2013 edition: 18-24. https://www.was.org/articles/a-bright-future-for-sandfish-aquaculture.aspx#.WKqK1Vc0ohI
Robinson, G. & Pascal, B. (2009). From Hatchery to Community – Madagascar’s first village-based holothurian mariculture program. Secretariat of the Pacific Community Bêche-de-mer Information Bulletin 29: 38-43
List of conference talks/posters
2018 Invited speaker at the African Development Bank workshop on Green Aquaculture in the South-West Indian Ocean Region: historical landmarks and prospects 8th-9th May 2018, Antananarivo, Madagascar. “Other Prospects for Integrated Aquaculture”.
2018 Invited speaker at the World Bank conference on Financing Sustainable and Climate-Resilient Ocean Economies in Africa 22nd-23rd February 2018, Mahe, Seychelles. “Low trophic IMTA – engineered for climate change resilience”.
2017 Session chair, Sea cucumber aquaculture, World Aquaculture 2017, 26th-30th June 2017, Cape Town. South Africa.
2017 Conference presentation at World Aquaculture 2017, 26th-30th June 2017, Cape Town. South Africa. “The microbiome is the nexus between aquaculture bioremediation and deposit feeder growth”.
2017 Conference presentation at World Aquaculture 2017, 26th-30th June 2017, Cape Town. South Africa. “Microbial–deposit feeder aquaculture bioremediation systems”.
2017 Poster presentation at World Aquaculture 2017, 26th-30th June 2017, Cape Town. South Africa. “The microbiome is the nexus between aquaculture bioremediation and deposit feeder growth”.
2016 Conference presentation at Aquaculture Europe 2016, 20-23rd September, Edinburgh, U.K. “Microbial drivers of bioremediation in sea cucumber aquaculture”.
2016 Poster presentation at the International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME) conference, Montreal, Canada. “The microbiome is the nexus between aquaculture bioremediation and deposit feeder growth.
2015 Invited speaker at the SmartFish Trade Event, 26th-27th March 2015, Entebbe, Uganda. “Potential for sea cucumber aquaculture in the Indian Ocean”.
2014 Invited speaker at the Workshop on Lionfish and Sea Cucumber, 29th-30th April 2014, Havana, Cuba. “Potential for sea cucumber aquaculture”.
2014 Invited speaker at the Workshop on Lionfish and Sea Cucumber, 29th-30th April 2014, Havana, Cuba. “Global status and management of sea cucumber fisheries”.
2013 Conference presentation at the Aquaculture Association of Southern Africa, 9-13th September, Stellenbosch, South Africa. “Sea cucumbers – am emerging aquaculture species”.
2012 Invited speaker at the Potential for Commercial Mariculture Symposium, 26-28th September, Dakar, Senegal. “Global sea cucumber markets and value chains (in French)”.
2012 Invited speaker at the Potential for Commercial Mariculture Symposium, 26-28th September, Dakar, Senegal. “Sea cucumber production systems (in French)”.
2011 Invited speaker at the ACIAR-SPC Asia-Pacific Tropical Sea Cucumber Symposium, Noumea, New Caledonia. “Development of sea cucumber farming as an alternative livelihood in south-west Madagascar”.
2010 Invited speaker at the IFS/WIOMSA Aquaculture symposium, Zanzibar, Tanzania. “Community-based sea cucumber aquaculture in Madagascar”.
2010 Conference presentation at the RCUK Annual meeting. G. Robinson & S. Clement. Development of sea cucumber farming as an alternative livelihood in SW Madagascar
2009 Poster presentation at the 6th WIOMSA Scientific Symposium, St Denis, Reunion. “Development of sea cucumber farming as a viable alternative livelihood in SW Madagascar.
Selected employment history
Oct 2018-Jan 2019 Consultant, African Development Bank. Scoping study on the potential for sustainable sea cucumber fisheries management and aquaculture in North Africa
Feb 2017-present PostDoctoral Assistant in Tropical Ecology. SAMS
Sep 2016-Dec 2017 Grow-out Manager. C Major Price Market Ltd., Mauritius (developing sea pen farming and ranching of sea cucumbers)
Jul 2014-present Consultant. Sea Cucumber Aquaculture. Aquasol Fish Farming Consultants
Apr 2014-present Consultant. Sea Cucumber Aquaculture. National Aquaculture Group. Al Leith, Saudi Arabia
2010-12 Consultant. Sea Cucumber Aquaculture. HIK Abalone Pty (Ltd). Hermanus, S Africa
2008-10 Mariculture Development Co-ordinator. Blue Ventures Conservation. SW Madagascar
2006-07 Integrated Aquaculture Coordinator. Loch Duart Ltd. Sutherland, Scotland
2005 Assistant Project Manager. Kaledupa Fisheries Project. Operation Wallacea Trust. SE Sulawesi, Indonesia
2016 PhD 'Microbial deposit feeder aquaculture bioremediation systems.' Newcastle University, UK (BBSRC Industrial CASE Studentship)
2002 MSc in Oceanography. University of Bordeaux, France
2003 BSc Marine Science with French. University of Southampton, UK